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DC Council At-Large: What to know about the District's most crowded race

For those living in DC, the at-large race is the one to watch. Here's a breakdown.

WASHINGTON — Incumbent candidates are largely expected to maintain their seats on the DC Council in Tuesday's election, making the Council's open at-large seats the race to watch. Here's what you need to know. 

There are five at-large members of the DC Council. Two of those seats are up for reelection in 2020: the seat held by incumbent Robert White Jr., who is seeking reelection and the seat being vacated by Independent David Grosso. 

While voters will elect two people, only one of them can be a Democrat under the DC Home Rule Charter. Many of the candidates running are Democrats but are running as independents to be eligible. Currently, the council doesn’t have a single Republican member.  

"There would be an advantage to having more moderate voices rather than becoming overly to one side," Chairman of the Council Phil Mendelson said.

Depending on who fills the seat, initiatives on police reform and decriminalizing sex work could move forward or be struck down.

Here are the candidates vying for the seats:

  1. Claudia Barragan (Independent)
    Barragan is a former policy staffer for Councilmember Trayon White and ANC Commissioner.
    Website: https://www.claudiafordc.com/
  2. Markus Batchelor (Independent)
    Batchelor is the Vice-President of the D.C. State Board of Education and represents Ward 8 on the Board.
    Website: https://www.markusfordc.com/
  3. Mario Cristaldo (Independent)
    Cristaldo has worked as the Executive Director of two senior centers in the city.
    Website: https://www.mario2020dc.com/
  4. Franklin Garcia (Independent)
    Garcia is currently a Shadow Representative for the city, an office he’s held since 2014.
    Website: http://franklinfordc.com/
  5. Marcus Goodwin (Independent)
    Goodwin is a real estate developer, who developed affordable housing and commercial properties for small businesses.
    Website: https://www.goodwinfordc.com/
  6. Calvin Gurley (Independent)
    Gurley is an accountant, who worked as a Tax Auditor for the District’s Department of Finance and Revenue.
    Website: https://www.facebook.com/elect.gurley
  7. Kathy Henderson (Independent)
    Henderson is a longtime Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) commissioner for Ward 5.
    Website: http://kathyhendersonfordccouncil.com/
  8. Joseph Bishop-Henchman (Libertarian)
    Henchman is a tax policy expert.
    Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joehenchman/
  9. Christina Henderson (Independent)
    Henderson currently works on Capitol Hill. She is the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Councilmember David Gross, who is not seeking re-election to this office. She also directed the Council’s Committee on Education.
    Website: https://www.christinahenderson.org/
  10. A’Shia Howard (Independent)
    Howard is a fifth-generation Washingtonian, a military spouse, a mother of five children and grandmother of seven. She lists her key issues as helping the homeless, affordable housing, law enforcement, substance abuse and education. 
    Website: https://howardfordc.com/
  11. Chander Jayaraman (Independent)
    He is a Capitol Hill ANC Commissioner and Emergency Management Consultant.
    Website: https://chander2020.com/
  12. Ed Lazere (Independent)
    Lazere is the former leader of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.
    Website: https://www.edfordc.com/
  13. Jeanne Lewis (Independent)
    Lewis is currently serving as the Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
    Website: https://www.jeannelewisatlarge.com/
  14. Will Merrifield (Independent)
    Merrifield is a tenant’s rights attorney.
    Website: https://willfordc.com/
  15. Rick Murphree (Independent)
    Murphree has dropped out of the race, but his name will still remain on the ballot.
    Website: https://www.murphreedc.com/
  16. Vincent Orange (Independent)
    Orange is trying to get his old seat back. He once held this office but lost to Robert White in 2016. Orange served 12 years on the council before his 2016 defeat.
    Website: https://vincentorange2020.com/
  17. Alexander M. Padro (Independent)
    Padro is an ANC Commissioner for Ward 6, representing the Shaw community.
    Website: http://www.alexpadro.com/
  18. Monica Palacio (Independent)
    Palacio is the former Director of D.C.’s Office of Human Rights.
    Website: https://www.monicafordc.com/
  19. Marya Pickering (Republican)
    Pickering is a GOP activist and a defense acquisition professional.
    Website: https://maryadc2020.com/
  20. Eric M. Rogers (Independent)
    Rogers is a political consultant and Democratic activist.
    Website: https://rogersfordc.com/
  21. Michangelo “Doctor Mic” Scruggs (Independent)
    Scruggs is a physician who specializes in podiatric medicine.
    https://drmicdccouncil.com/                                
  22. Keith Silver (Independent)
    Silver is a former Ward 6 ANC Commissioner.
    Website: https://keithsilverfordc.com/
  23. Robert White (Democratic-Incumbent)
    White is seeking a second term. He is an attorney. From 2008 to 2014 he was legislative counsel in Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office.
    Website: https://robertwhitefordc.com/
  24. Ann C. Wilcox (Statehood Green Party)
    Wilcox is an attorney and from 1994-1998 she served on the D.C. Board of Education.
    Website: https://dcstatehoodgreen.party/candidates/ann-wilcox

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The winner of the at-large seat could also determine if the Council remains majority white, moves to majority Black, or includes a Latino member for the first time.

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